I Love My Country

Be one a child, a teen, an adult;
Each dreams to live without fault
in one’s own country is sought
how peace and order about is brought.

Let’s start with the family;
where values are learned, we see.
With a deep faith ’tis strengthened
like helping a neighbor in need, extended.

To treat others as we…
Uplift each one will be
a goal to have, but first to achieve
dignity, respect, compliance, and honesty.

What beauty then there is
when acting out the wise speech
in youth taught and fellows share
and the world sees how for each other we care.

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Yuletide Gifts

birth-of-jesus

(picture from http://media.photobucket.com/user/dingsdb/media/Jesus/1f97.jpg)

For nine days I listened
To Your words thru your servants
A wish to be enlightened
My Giver a gift You granted.

On day one, You taught humility
To Live Your word with simplicity.

On day two, You sent a lamp
Lighting up the darkness in this life has encamped.

On day three a genealogy with bad fruits You came
But then you were born without blame,
So who am I to question a Giver of gifts
Who, my soul to Heaven He lifts.

On day four, a man took a woman to be his wife
A God-given family this man protected without strife.

On day five, You ask for silence
A peace within so that to You we may listen.

On day six, a lady was chosen to bear
The Child…the Man… the Giver…
Who spoke the Word and is the Savior.

On day seven two women met,
The mother of the Lamp,
The mother of the Giver,
Unfailing faith and trust set
A life to be reunited to God as yet.

On day eight, Mary’s song of joy and praise,
To God her love and life she raised.

On day nine, Zechariah speaks again,
His son’s name John, God is with him,
The lamp God has chosen
Before the Giver, His Son, he sends.

In these nine days of worship and prayer
I offer as my gift for my Giver
His word through my life, my deeds, my actions,
To show, to share, to live without pretensions.

Glory In Passing

 

To them who went before us, O God be glory.

I’ll start off by quoting paragraphs about how we go about observing the rites for our dead.  The following was taken from “What Catholics Need To Know About Funerals”.

God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all 1 John 1:5.

In the funeral mass, you see how the symbolism is rooted in the Eucharist, which is a source of life, a source of strength and nourishment, but also an offering of thanksgiving.  While it may not have the same joy and jubilation, even at the funeral mass, when the community of God gathers together in sorrow, part of the consolation is the gathering to offer praise to God and an offering of thanksgiving, being focused not just on the deceased  but on Jesus.

The casket is brought to the front of the sanctuary and positioned in front of the paschal candle which is another reminder of the light of Christ dispelling the darkness of death and promising eternal life.

The casket, or cremations is covered with white linen, known as the pall, which evokes the white baptismal gown.

The casket is also blessed with holy water, another reminder of the person’s baptism, the day they were first given the promise of eternal life.

It is also worth noting that the priest celebrating the mass approaches the casket wearing white vestments.

It’s what we do as Catholics.

– Brian Fraga, OSV at OSV.com

_________

I’ve been to six different, but there were actually seven funeral wakes in the past year with the last one being yesterday, all of which are less than six months apart.  Let me just write the word”Sigh” for lack of a better expression, as I can’t make it audible enough that could be heard while you read my piece.

First was a cousin-in law’s wake, Noel but I wasn’t able to attend due to work constraints and heavy rains.  His wife, my first cousin died earlier, and they have two children who are now making something of themselves.

My Tita Caring’s wake last year had that intimate and personal touch. It was an opportune time as finally we were able to drop by our dad’s place. As with with every funeral gatherings, relatives came from different parts of town and different parts of the world, to pay their last respects.  We got there around the siesta hours as we had to endure 5 hours of travel time.  My sister and her husband from New York were here for a vacation at that time.  She and my eldest sister planned this trip to represent our dad, who passed away years before. Please take note of this detail in the coming paragraphs.

A few months after, the mother of my sister’s husband died.  He and my sister came back home again from New York to arrange his mom’s funeral as now he is the oldest living son.  The wake was a little different as the family were observing the Chinese tradition.  My husband and I went there at night.  There weren’t any crying ladies though but they had the writings on the wall on which were written the donations of the people who attended the wake.  These were in Chinese characters, by the way.

As I’ve mentioned the funerals I attended were barely six months apart.  This next one was really dumbfounding as our dear eldest sister was just with us the day before she passed away.  Our last conversation was that we will be meeting up again on All Saint’s Day, which was two months later.  Little did we know that she would be one among those we would be visiting on this occasion.  I remember that one last time we were together, she was complaining of some stomach pain and I asked my brother about it -he being a doctor.  We all thought that it may have been something she ate.  She had a schedule with a cardiologist that same week and would then be undergoing some tests.  But I guess the Lord had a better plan – gave  her the best cure which is to go home to Him where she wouldn’t have to experience any more pain, no more undergoing medical tests.

So it was my sister’s wake that I attended next.  She died on the eve of my nephew’s birthday, 4 days before mine, a date that will certainly be remembered.  Hers was a funeral attended by the different Chruch committees, her classmates from high school and college – she was an active Mother Butler and alumna.  Being the eldest among the De Guzman cousins, relatives came from nearby and out of town to pay their last respects.  This last, my sister from New York had to come home for the third time this year together with my niece.

Christmas last year was a little bleak.  Aside from the missing members of the family, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law were talking about their dads who were seriously ill and have been in and out of the hospital.  Both were of advanced age already so the risks were really high.

Early this year one of the dads of these two in-laws of mine passed away. It was the dad of my eldest brother-in-law, whose wife, my eldest sister, died late last year.  It’s tragic really for him, having had two deaths in his immediate family, and our hearts go out to him and the children.  My son and I went to pay our last respects.  It was an eerie experience for us as we were the only ones there in the funeral parlor- that was after one of the-I guess they were people working for the family, who recognized me as a relative of the dead.  They left after fixing up and so only  my son and I were there.  We stayed and watched for a almost an hour, but still nobody came.  And the wake covered two chapels so just imagine how eerie it was for us to be there with my brother-in-law’s dad.  Tatay Pacheco was a jolly person when he was alive.  I guess and hope he was jolly for us to be accompanying him at that time.

Soon after, my cousin Danny died.  I haven’t seen him for years, the last time being in his mom’s wake, my aunt, several years before.  When we were younger, Danny and his youngest sister, Lenny were playmates of mine.  It’s really sad that they’re both gone now.  Way back in high school, sometimes Danny would just appear by my side when I was on my way to school.  He was then dropped off by his dad, My Uncle Itoy.  My family of 3 had a funny experience when we went to his wake.  We were an hour early for his viewing so we were sitting there in the lobby together with other guests of the other dead.  These guests were already whispering to one another about who we were and are we relations or friends?  Anyway, when Danny was finally ready for viewing we met and sympathize with his wife and daughters.  Danny is finally peacefully resting with God.

This last wake was very touching for my family.  It was now my sister-in-law’s dad who passed away.  She said that it was the first death in their family so it was a new experience for them.  I just told her that everything’s going to be all right as my brother would know what to do.  The rites yesterday was exactly what were quoted in the first part of this article.  The wake was personal and intimate, no frills, no fuss, and my family felt the solemnity and simplicity of it all.  Indeed it was a glorious occasion for the Pineda family with their dad finally gone home to God, no more pain, no more staying in the hospital. And, as my sister-in-law said, they now have somebody up there to welcome them when their time comes to go home.

The glory in the death of each of these people is in what they have done for us. As how Pope Benedict has challenged us to do, they were able to carry out.  And, that is – “each one of you must have the courage to promise to the Holy Spirit that you will bring one … person to Jesus Christ in the way you consider best.”  As you do know that your efforts will bring Jesus abundant joy.

Let me end my tribute to those who have passed away before us by quoting from 2 Timothy 4:7. “I have fought  the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

 

Past Forward

I had work this morning and while at it I was gathering my thoughts on what I would write about for the last day of the year. It was a little difficult to do this as I was suffering from sore eyes. Yuck, I know. Anyway, my favorite movie trilogy came to mind – Back to the Future.

Maybe some or many may not have cared for it, but to me, it carried a lot of truths seemingly apt for a year-end bye-bye message and a way to welcome the new year.

First off, Doc Brown of 1955 didn’t like the idea of Marty mingling with anyone in that time for it will create an alternate future. And we all know what happened. In reality, this CAN’T happen. The past is just that… Pfft, gone, zilch, nada. So do our past experiences, our past relationships, everything that we did. Well it happened so let’s just put it down to lessons learned. If it was good, then we try to sustain those and be consistent, too.

However, Doc Brown of 2015 was all for Marty saving his son from being jailed. Marty came to the rescue, of course. This is reality.

We can change our future by starting today. We build what we could despite the contradictions, the hardships, the let downs because we know that what we are building will be for our own good. So we stick to it and listen to those encouraging words of our elders, our friends, our loved ones. We move forward against all odds so to speak. Along the way we make some changes here and there, some adjustments, give a little more time to concentrate on the difficulties that needs resolving but pretty soon what we were looking forward to now becomes ours, FINALLY!

Don’t let history repeat itself. Somebody advised me that perhaps the reason why some things/events/circumstance happen over and over is because I might not have tackled the situation correctly. Too true. There’s the right way and the wrong way. Do I take a U-turn? Definitely NOT. Stop at the curb and think about which way would be the best you could take. Leave the past, move on forward. Be sensitive about the signs though; they’re there to put you on the right track.

And to end this year’s last entry, let me quote from Numbers 6:24-26… “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

Happy New Year!

Words to live by

Way back when I earned my first salary in my first job, I was so proud of myself and wanted to give all of my “hard earned money” to my mom.  I actually did that but my mom, instead of taking it said to me, “Keep it.  It isn’t even enough to buy yourself nice clothes to wear at work.  That was true.  I did not know yet how to budget my money then and so, a week after receiving my salary, there I was asking my mom if she could “lend” me some money for my fare to work.  That was my mom.  Her words actually taught me what I could do with my hard earned money.  Two options were opened to me then — I saved part of it, the rest I apportioned for my “needs”.

My second to the eldest sister was my idol.  When I was in the grades and our teacher would ask us to write about who/what we wanted to be when we grow up, I consistently wrote about this particular sister (I have three of them) as I actually wanted to be like her in every way — how easy for her to be friends with others, her fashion style, her confidence.  However, I did not end up becoming like her.  It was okay because she eventually became my number one fan.   According to her friends she talked non-stop about me being a college professor.

I married young and did not get the chance to know my husband and his family that well.  I only felt “not wanted” by his family.  After three years of living together and two children, even my husband no longer “wanted me”.  I was literally thrown out and a few months after that we found ourselves in court battling for child custody.  Not having a mom anymore to run to for help, I turned to my dad who consoled me and said to me, “One day you will get reconciled with your children.  Meanwhile, enrich yourself so that when that time comes they will find you a success instead of the failure that your husband and his family wanted you to be.”

Still another sister, the eldest in our family also gave me not words this time, but actions to live by.  We did not not really say much to each other probably because there is an 11-year gap in our ages.  She showed me how when one gets married, to put family first before everything else.  She was also the epitome, for me, of forbearance.  She had that inner strength of steel against all the odds that she endured throughout her life.  I only got to know if ever odds were against her through her children.

These four members of my family have passed away, my eldest sister being just six days ago.  What I wrote here are those which had the most lasting effect on me, on my life in general and I have been living by their words and examples as much as I can.  I hope I can also be as effective in spreading their words of wisdom and being an example like them to others as well, in my lifetime.